Jones Fracture: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery
A Jones fracture, named after Sir Robert Jones, is a break between the shaft and base of the fifth metatarsal of the foot. Based on its location, it is also commonly known as the fracture of the fifth metatarsal. The fifth metatarsal is located on the outside of the foot and is connected to the smallest toe. It is the most common type of fracture of the metatarsals. Jones fractures are common among athletes and can be caused by stress to or overuse of this area located in the middle of the foot. It may be mistaken for a sprain, but it is much more severe than that.
Jones Fracture – An Overview
A Jones Fracture is a common fracture of the fifth metatarsal of the foot. While there are other kinds of fractures that can occur in the metatarsals, Jones fracture is the most common and much more severe than the rest. It is characterized by a break in the area where the base of the metatarsal connects with the shaft of the smallest toe.
What are Metatarsals?
The metatarsal bones are the long bones located in the middle of the foot. Each metatarsal has a head, a neck and a base. Fifth metatarsal is the last bone located on the outside of the foot. These bones play a significant role in keeping balance when walking and standing. Since these bones are abundantly used, they are prone to getting injured because of overuse and stress. A severe twist of the foot or a sudden impact can damage the metatarsals and may even cause a fracture. Most of the fractures of the fifth metatarsal occur at the base.
Causes of Jones Fracture
The main cause of a Jones fracture is overuse, trauma or repetitive stress. A hairline fracture may develop with stress and overuse of the fifth metatarsal. The hairline fracture, if not given proper rest, can develop over time and result in a severe fracture. A fracture of the fifth metatarsal can be caused merely by running, jumping or walking. It is most noticeable among people with a high arch.
Jones fracture may also be caused by an acute injury or sudden trauma such as inward twisting of the foot or a turned ankle. It is a common occurrence among athletes. A fracture of the fifth metatarsal can reoccur, therefore, it is important to stick to the precautions advised by the doctor during the recovery phase. Also, it is important to keep the foot non-weight bearing.
Common Signs and Symptoms of a Jones Fracture
The symptoms of a Jones fracture may be common as the symptoms of other kinds of fractures of the foot. It is also commonly mistaken as an ankle sprain, but is much more severe. The person suffering from a Jones fracture may know about the injury as soon as it occurs if it is caused by a sudden trauma and gives immediate symptoms. Here are the common signs and symptoms of a Jones fracture.
- Swelling and pain on the outside of the foot, especially at the base of the little toe
- Difficulty in weight bearing and walking
- Severe pain on the outside of the middle of the foot
If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms and there is a constant pain on the outside of the foot towards the little toe along with purple skin on the foot or leg and fever, it is important to consult a doctor at your earliest as it can be a Jones fracture. Your doctor will conduct diagnostic tests and begin treatment immediately.
An accurate diagnosis of a Jones fracture is given by a medical professional. The treatment of a Jones fracture depends on the correct diagnosis. Your doctor will do the following to make a formal diagnosis of the fracture of the fifth metatarsal.
- Ask about how the injury happened and when the pain started
- Conduct a physical examination of the foot
- Press different parts of the foot to assess the severity and location of the pain
- Conduct X-Ray and/or MRI to find out the exact location of the fracture and its severity and also to check if there is any damage to the surrounding tissues, muscles and ligaments
Based on the severity of the Jones fracture, your doctor will provide you a treatment plan which can be surgical or non-surgical.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
The R.I.C.E. Method: Rest, ice, compression and elevate is an effective method to reduce swelling and pain caused by a fracture of the fifth metatarsal. It is important to initiate is as soon as possible. It might be time consuming as it requires icing multiple times a day, keeping the injured foot non-weight bearing, keeping it wrapped and elevated, but it helps in reducing pain and swelling which is needed for other treatment.
Immobilization: You can effectively heal from a Jones fracture if you keep it off weight during the recovery phase. You will have to make sure that you do not put any weight on the injured leg and make use of mobility devices like a knee scooter by KneeRover as a traditional crutch alternative to keep the leg non-weight bearing. Knee scooters are the ideal crutch alternative as they provides ease of mobility while keeping weight off your injured foot.
Anti-Inflammatory Medication: To keep the swelling and pain under control, your doctor may prescribe you anti-inflammatory medications and pain killers. This will help in reducing swelling and pain and help in healing the fracture.
A Jones fracture can reoccur and can be quite painful. If the non-surgical treatment options do not work, or if the fracture is too severe to be treated non-surgically, your doctor will recommend a surgical treatment. A surgery is also suggested if there is a damage to the surrounding tissues, muscles and ligaments.
A surgery for the fracture of the fifth metatarsal involves placement of screws or plates in the fifth metatarsal at its shaft. This helps in keeping the bones at the right alignment and the foot at place. In severe fractures, bone grafting may be required. It takes between 6-8 weeks to recover from the surgery and be back on the foot again.
Recovery from a Jones fracture depends on the severity of the break, the treatment method used and the individual health of the patient. If the blood supply to the foot is disrupted due to the fracture, the healing time may be increased.
You will have to wait for 1-12 weeks before you can put weight back on the foot after the surgery. Some surgeons allow the patient to put weight on the heel and not on the front of the foot, while others advise to completely keep the foot non-weight bearing for the recovery to take place smoothly and to reduce the chances of the fracture occurring again. You can choose a mobility device to keep weight off the injured foot.
Here are some options you can choose from:
Traditional crutches are commonly used and inexpensive, however, they can cause pain in your wrists, arms, chest and underarms. Also, it is not very convenient and you will not be able to use your hands and arms while walking which makes doing simple everyday tasks difficult to perform. It also increases the risk of bearing weight on the broken foot, which can lead to a stress injury again and can also increase the time for recovery. The best crutch alternative is using a knee scooter or knee walker from KneeRover.
If you are an active person and want to remain the same following the broken foot injury, the best option for you is a knee scooter and knee walkers from KneeRover. These are becoming increasingly popular for all the right reasons. You can kneel yourself on a padded platform and can move yourself easily with the wheels on the bottom just as you do with a scooter. They are the most efficient solution for distances and for doing everyday tasks. When you are resting the foot on the knee scooter, there is minimal chance of bearing any weight on it and hence the recovery process goes smooth and as planned.
A Jones fracture is painful regardless of whether it is caused by stress, trauma or overuse. It is important to consult a doctor at your earliest if you feel pain in your fifth metatarsal following an injury as it can be a Jones fracture. In the recovery phase, it is important to keep the injured foot non-weight bearing to help it heal effectively, reduce the risk of injuring it again and recover it in time. Knee scooters and walkers from KneeRover are ideal to keep weight off the foot during recovery.
This is for informational purposes only, please remember to consult your doctor.
Looking for a knee scooter or knee walker? Whether you are looking for a knee scooter rental or a knee scooter for sale, we have the best option for you. Purchasing a knee scooter can be more cost effective than renting a knee scooter. Can't find a knee scooter near me? We offer free next day shipping!